The Tale of an Apartheid Icon – Andrew Mlangeni

By Toby Tunwase

Aged 95, Andrew Mlangeni was the last surviving defendant in the infamous trail of Nelson Mandela and the other nationalists who were fighting for the freedom of South Africa and faced death to overthrow the apartheid regime.

Just like the country’s first black president, Mlangeni also spent more than 25 years imprisoned in the notorious Robben Island, Cape Town. He was finally released in 1989. Following the first ever democratic election in 1994, he became an ANC lawmaker. After serving his country for two decades, he finally retired in 2014.

He later became a strong voice against the factionalism that ate deep in the ANC and the incessant corrupt practices that took place under the President Jacob Zuma administration from 2009 to 2018.

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Mlangeni, who has been an active player of the South African politics and nationalism since the early 1950s, became one of the first few fighters who were sent out of South Africa for military training in the 1960s.

He was later arrested and imprisoned for 26 years alongside Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and Dennis Goldberg, who died three months ago who were all anti-apartheid activists.

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The national icon passed away on the 21st of July and was buried on the 29th of July, 2020 in a state funeral.

Those who were present at the ceremony wore face masks and are seen to observe the social distancing directives in line with the coronavirus prevention rules. His body rests at the Roodepoort Cemetery, west of Johannesburg.